San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Fantasy home show features Costa Rica

TAMARINDO, Guanacaste – A new cable TV show has Canadian homeowners asking, “If I sold my home and moved to a dream location, where would it be?”

For families featured on HGTV Canada’s latest series, “Live Here, Buy This,” which premiered Aug. 27, one of the most popular answers is Costa Rica.

“Costa Rica was chosen by the families as No. 1, which is really cool,” said Tamarindo realtor Rebecca Clower, who was invited to co-host three episodes from Costa Rica. Those shows will begin airing Sept. 24. 

The premise of the “lifestyle fantasy show,” explained Clower, is a “combination of House Hunters International meets the Travel Channel.”

The network known for its popular home and gardening programming bought 26 episodes, in which Canadian couples are asked, “If you left everything today, where could you see yourself living and what could you afford based on the current value of your home?” Clower said.

Couples select three countries, and local realtors team up with show hosts to find two options within each couple’s budget, based on the value of their current home. In the debut season, Canadian couples’ top country choice was Costa Rica.

Clower and a five-person TV crew filmed for two weeks at locations in Tamarindo, Conchal, Portrero and Flamingo, and Manuel Antonio, all along the Pacific coast. However, because it’s a “fantasy” show, no homes are actually purchased. But positive publicity about Costa Rica’s real estate market and laid-back lifestyle will be broadcast in homes across North America.

“It’s a lifestyle series, so we don’t focus only on real estate, we also focus on what it’s like to live here, what there is to do,” Clower said.

For each show, two weeks of filming is condensed into a half-hour episode in which Costa Rica is featured along with two other countries. 

“It was awesome,” Clower said of her experience co-hosting. “We showed beaches and mountains, and we showed some really nice mansions. You’re going to see some pretty wild stuff.”

For the Costa Rica segments, Clower said she showed properties ranging from $300,000 to $1.6 million. Clower also took the crew to Manuel Antonio National Park, on local canopy tours and to other attractions. “We got to do touristy things I don’t normally get to do,” said Clower, 34, who owns Tamarindo-based real estate company Blue Water Properties of Costa Rica, while raising two young kids aged 2 and 4 with her husband, Keith. 

The show also will help bring the northwestern province of Guanacaste into the international spotlight. Guanacaste’s real estate market was one of the country’s hardest-hit following the 2008 global financial meltdown. Since then, Clower said she’s seen a shift in buyers in the Guanacaste market, with more Canadians and South Americans turning their focus on property in Costa Rica.

Costa Rican episodes of “Live Here, Buy This” begin airing Sept. 24 on HGTV Canada at 10 p.m. 

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